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Rural and Community Health Clerkship Comes to an End

For 24 years, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine and the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) have worked in cooperation to offer the Rural and Community Health Clerkship (RCHC) for third-year medical students to experience primary care as practiced in rural and underserved areas in Oregon. We celebrate the accomplishments of the RCHC program, which is coming to an end this year.

Over the Rural Clerkship’s tenure, it has placed 2,529 medical students with 255 preceptors in 56 communities throughout Oregon. Long-term continuous sites in Oregon include eleven communities from Ontario to Coos Bay.

The new School of Medicine curriculum at OHSU will no longer offer an isolated, required third year rural experience in the form of the rural clerkship. Instead, the new curriculum requires students to complete a minimum of one rural experience they may weave into their entire education, beginning in their second year, as well as continuity rotations where students can spend up to twelve weeks in rural Oregon.

“Basically, the new curriculum allows students to have as many rural experiences as they want throughout their education and earlier. It is really exciting for us and a huge step in recruiting students to rural Oregon,” said Anna Tupper, AHEC program office manager.

This makes physician preceptors, like Dr. Liz Powers from Enterprise and Dr. Sandra Dunbrasky from Ontario, who have a passion for teaching students even more valuable. NEOAHEC is thankful for all of our past and present preceptors who have taken time from their busy lives as physicians, community leaders, partners, spouses, parents, etc., to continue to support the mission of Oregon AHEC, formed in our region 25 years ago, to grow our own medical professionals.

Medical students and other health professions students, like physician assistants, nurses, dentists, etc., will still be required to do what their preceptor does to learn about treating patients in rural areas. They will also learn about the community they are living in, learn about the provider role in the community and learn about the role, limitations and benefits of the health care system in the rural community during their rotations.

“Students have a very defined role in our clinic and we count on them as part of the care team. The investment to train students is what guarantees someone is here to care for our community when I’m gone,” said Dr. Liz Powers from Winding Waters Clinic in Enterprise.

This weekend in Enterprise and and Joseph, Northeast Oregon AHEC, Wallowa County and OHSU will celebrate 25 years of Family Medicine with a reception at the Josephy Center on Friday, July 22, and a day full of events including continuing medical education, a town hall meeting and a community dinner to conclude the weekend on Saturday, July 23rd. All are welcome to attend. Please see the calendar on our website, www.neoahec.org, for all of the details.

Thank you again to the tireless dedication and love for teaching the next generation of health care providers for rural Oregon. Here is a list of physician preceptors from the Northeast Oregon region. If we have missed you, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know at mlair@neoahec.org.

Baker City Steven Delashmutt
Trisha Eckman
Charles Hoffman
William Irvine
Eric Lamb
Robert McKim
Jerrod Mitzel
Diane Nowak
Jon Schott
J Daniel Smithson
Rex Wilson
Neil Carroll
Enterprise Lowell Euhus
Elizabeth Powers
Heppner Betsy Anderson
Dan Hambleton
Russell Nichols
Hermiston Derek Earl
T Douglas Flaiz
Maria McClain
Hood River Ryan Petersen
Jodi Ready
Constance Serra
La Grande Michael McQueen
Nyssa Michael Romeo
Louis Roser
Ontario David Brauer
Dorin Daniels
Sandra Dunbrasky
Paul Gering
Manuel Lois
Paul Snyder
Fred Stark
Larry Stoune
Pendleton Donald Guenther
Frank Szumski
Union Kim Montee